A Two-Decade Land Use and Cover Change Detection and Land Degradation Monitoring in Central Jordan Using Satellite Images

Hussam H. Al-Bilbisi


This paper describes a suite of techniques used to develop an operational approach for mapping land degradation and change detection purposes in the central parts of Jordan using Landsat (TM) images acquired in March 1987, and February 2009, respectively. The two multi-temporal images were geometrically and radiometrically calibrated to each other and used as input to an automatic change detection procedure. To map changes that had occurred between the two dates six spectral bands of both TM digital data (with the thermal bands being excluded) were individually used as input for supervised classification purpose. Monitoring of the land degradation, particularly in vegetation coverage, had been done using NDVI image differencing. The histogram of difference image showed that unchanged pixels were centered around the mean; the changed pixels were located in the tail regions on either side. The difference image indicated that significant negative changes in land use/cover have occurred between 1987 and 2009. Change detection results of central Jordan revealed that the decline of cultivated areas and green vegetation areas was clearly the result of accelerated expansion through the process of urbanization, which had negative effects on both agricultural lands and water basins, and consequently enhanced land degradation.


Remote Sensing, Land Degradation, Change Detection, NDVI, Central Jordan, Landsat TM.

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